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“Unique Museum is a Cultural Experience”

Backstreet Cultural Museum
Ranked #68 of 380 things to do in New Orleans
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Hours: Tuesday thru Saturday, 10-5.
Reviewed May 4, 2013

Located in a two-room-wide, shotgun-style house on the border of the French Quarter and Treme districts, this is a must-see for an understanding of some of the deeper underpinnings of the Mardi Gras and New Orleans funeral traditions.

On one side is a room filled with the incredible handwork that goes into making the elaborate, 3-dimensional "Indian" costumes. Far from being a misappropriation of indigenous culture, these crewes pay tribute to their adopted Indian tribes with fantastic beaded costumes. The detail the tour provides about what goes into making these suits reveals a great deal about the depth of the African-American and Native American cultural links here.

The other side is an explanatory set of displays showing the meaning and art behind and surrounding the New Orleans jazz funeral traditions. You learn about "second line" dancing and see photos and artifacts detailing the rich history and meaning, dating back to African origins, of this complex ritual surrounding death and the living who go on afterward.

The narrow hallway between the two sides is hung with all sorts of photos, documents, and art that will keep you busy if the other rooms are momentarily too full to enter. Definitely worth the price of admission!

3  Thank Randy B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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218 - 222 of 289 reviews

Reviewed April 30, 2013 via mobile

Visited this interesting museum on the Mardi Gras Indians. Lots of costumes and talks about the history of them. Also some info on the jazz funerals. The owners are really nice.

1  Thank MDuvalPA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 25, 2013

In this small museum, you'll find some Indian costumes and learn about the history of why some at Mardi Gras wear them. You'll also find other artifacts having to do with music and other things that make NOLA special. It's clearly an important labor of love for the organization that sponsors it.

1  Thank obriens19
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 20, 2013 via mobile

This is a privately owned cultural history museum. The main attraction is an abundance of Mardi Gras Indian suits--probably 25--that visitors can closely examine. There is not much narrative but the owners are happy to provide details and stories and answer questions. This is important Treme history and well worth the $8 admission.

1  Thank Polysemous
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 25, 2013

This small museum, in a former funeral home, celebrates the history, music, and traditions of Treme, a multicultural neighborhood in New Orleans. It displays several exquisite costumes created by members of various "Indian" groups, African Americans who celebrate Mardi Gras through these elaborate suits of beads and feathers. Each person takes an entire year to create a suit, beginning again each year. The craftsmanship and creativity on display are unique and extraordinary. The museum also highlights the second line parades and the talented musicians who perform in Treme throughout the year. We were so pleased to see school children visiting this wonderful community institution.

4  Thank Pamela H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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